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Travellers' Advisories, Safety and Security on the Road Recent News, political or military events, which may affect trip plans or routes. Personal and vehicle security, tips and questions.
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  #16  
Old 16 Feb 2012
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Originally Posted by Big Yellow Tractor View Post
I think there is a real need to vet customers for a long trip. A mixed group is great but one can't have a too extreme diversity...I have organised a few short group trips but have been lucky that I know most of the participants very well.
Of course it is a good idea, I just don't think it is practicable for a tour operating business to be very thorough about it.
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  #17  
Old 17 Feb 2012
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It's been real interesting reading this thread and in particular the blog by one of the participants.

It looks like I'm destined to ride alone...

Chris
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  #18  
Old 17 Feb 2012
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Originally Posted by Walkabout View Post
Interesting that feedback is still coming in about this particular organised trip. That is now 3 out of 18 providing comment.

Mike,
Was there clear reason why this particular trip exceeded the intended number of 12 by 50% (apart from the obvious of maximising profit), and why didn't it split into two groups?
I've taken a quick look at your blog and I see that you entered Russia twice: what type of visa did you use and did Kudu assist with this or was it a self-help thing to do?
Not sure there was any reason why the trip ended up at 18 - guess it was just that 18 people wanted to go! It must be hard for anyone (especially a new business) to turn down cash! Suppose they could have split the group - but that might have caused them more logistical problems as one of the trucks was particaularly unreliable and broke down several times before we left Europe. I think it was eventually abandoned in Siberia!

Yes - we entered from Russia into Kazakhstan and then back into Russia on the way to Barnaul (no direct route from Kaz into Mongolia) - therefore need multi-entry visa. Kudu use an outfit called Travcour to help with the visa apps, but they are pretty straightforward to do on your own - except Kaz which you had to attend embassy in London in person (2 hour queue for 5 min process)
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  #19  
Old 18 Feb 2012
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OPinions

First, I am not a biker, I'm a driver! I have no connection to any of the companies mentioned. These comments etc are just my personal opinion.
Also I have done a London to Cape Town and the trips sound great, if not everyones cup of tea.

Having read the thread thru and using common sense, it seems that there will always be the and the bad experiences. But common in the three reports are that there were problems. You get the feeling that the two more positive are possibly a bit more laid back.
However, taking 18 bikes when you have said there will only be 12 or that you would split in to two if there are more than 12, smacks of profiteering and certainly would not go down well with most people. Also its pretty poor etiquette.
Surely if Jeff was a virgin to this trip, some of his support staff should have had experience of doing it previously - this knowledge should have been called upon to plan the trip out a bit more professionally.
Poorly planned support and logistics and unacceptable, especially having to abandon one of the support vehicles.
Also the comments that Jeff himself was unhelpful, rude and had a bad attitude is totally unacceptable - this alone would put me off.

Just look around and see what is said about other expedition companies - Waypoint Tours owned and operated by Barrie Dunbar, are a relatively newly established operator, but I have not heard a bad word said about them. I frequent several other forums where quite a few people have done trips with Waypoint and the feedback/reports have all been glowing.

I hope that Jeff takes on board the positive and negative comments and tries to put them to good use and improve the experience for all in the future.

Good luck and enjoy!
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  #20  
Old 2 Jul 2012
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My two cents

Having last weekend in Ulaanbaatar , witnessed six punters (sorry customers) from Kudu on route from London to Magadan arrive with all smiles, there can be no problems.
I can only envy those that are continuing to Magadan on a supported trip via the BAM road , Vitim bridge and old Road of Bones.
It should be noted that they are now running Toyota.

Sincerely -Alec
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  #21  
Old 2 Jul 2012
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Originally Posted by Livotlout View Post
Having last weekend in Ulaanbaatar , witnessed six punters (sorry customers) from Kudu on route from London to Magadan arrive with all smiles, there can be no problems.
I can only envy those that are continuing to Magadan on a supported trip via the BAM road , Vitim bridge and old Road of Bones.
It should be noted that they are now running Toyota.

Sincerely -Alec
Lorraine's blog she is on that trip. Off on the Dizzy – Zurich to Singapore on my Suzuki DRZ 400 | I’m dedicating this trip to end slavery, please support my Ride for Freedom campaign: https://ijmfreedommaker.org/campaign/340/Ride-for-Freedom
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  #22  
Old 5 Jul 2012
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Being a long-term resident at the Oasis in UB, i too witnessed the people on the trip high fiving etc on arrival,

I Found Niall and Jeff of kudu to be good guys, being stranded without a running bike waiting on clutch plates and steels i was taken out in their 4x4 Toyota for a nice day out to the national park, even offered the option to join them to magadan via the BAM road, i witnessed jeff sharing routes/waypoints with various solo bikers/cyclists.

I personally wouldent dig an organised tour (riding without luggage would be nice mind) but reading this thread and then meeting the kudu guys i think that particular tour in 2011 had a combination of issues that are unlikely to be repeated.

Goodluck to them on the BAM road and Lorraine on her furthe travels to china/se asia
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  #23  
Old 29 Jul 2012
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BAM and Road of Bones with Kudu Expeditions

Hi Don and Alec, nice to meet you both in UB. Hope your onward travels are going well.

For everyone else i have written a bit of a blurb here on my experience on this trip with Kudu Expeditions 2012 through the BAM and Road of Bones. I hope many more people do this trip as it really was, well, one of the hardest things i have done, but one of the greatest experiences and definitely a dream come true.

http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...523#post387540

If anyone wants any further details feel free to PM me.
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  #24  
Old 1 Sep 2012
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As someone above said, being a long-term resident in various places in Russia (Magadan, Yakutsk, Moscow) I had the chance to meet Jeff and Neil from Kudu Expeditions more than one time. Matter of fact we meet in all the places mentioned above due to my shipping and mechanical problems with my bike.

We talked a lot and exchange a lot of information about the road and motorcycling.

Mind you I have not been in tour with them, but I find them to be very nice and friendly people, willing to share their experience and resources with other travelers (I needed a tube, a back pack and a slim pump). So, from my experience with then, hands up!

Again, as someone said, this kind of trip puts one way out of their conform zone. It is beautiful, but it is also hard and maddening some times.

Each person reacts to such challenges differently and each one has different expectations. Generally is more then you bargain for from all points of view.
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  #25  
Old 30 Jan 2014
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Kudu Expeditions 2013 review WARNING

Hi to anyone considering trip with Kudu Expeditions,

I'd like to post a review of the current Kudu Expeditions operation. I was on the 2013 Trans Africa (London to Cape Town, cancelled in Point Noire, Congo).

I cannot recommend this company to anyone. Poorly organised and just as poorly executed. The website implies that they have experience in Africa and it did not take long to realise that was clearly not the case. Often the customers were left to organise things that Kudu had been paid to do. The current Kudu has never run this tour, a fact that was not mentioned when taking customers money....
The owner lied about customer numbers (only two, not four, or six), lied about experience in Africa on his website, lied on the website saying that the guides had experience with every mile we would travel.
Basically the trip was a race between major African cities and then trying to organise the next visa. We really did nothing touristy. Honestly, Africa for two and a half months and barely saw any wildlife. We never really left the beaten track, hardly camped and certainly did not experience the trip advertised on the Kudu website. It was probably 95% sealed roads and a lot of sitting around in capital cities.
Nothing was done by Kudu to ensure customers had a good experience. A four month trip through Africa should have been a trip of a lifetime but I really just feel shortchanged by an unscrupulous operator.
The trip was cancelled halfway through due to the incompetence of Kudu not organising visas for Angola and apparently there are 'no refunds available' though I am pursuing other options.
The only way operators like this can be drummed out of the industry is if customers stop using them. Kudu offers dreams, takes your money, barely tries to deliver, fails to compete the trip and then lies about refunds.
I hope this post is not removed as potential customers need to be warned what they are getting themselves into with Kudu.
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  #26  
Old 30 Jan 2014
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JackB.. Sorry to hear you have such a bad experience.

If you had read up on people's opinions and experiences of Overland travel on the Hubb you wouldn't of booked one in the first place.

You quite simply don't need a chaperone. Be your own boss. There are so many travellers about to make friends and ride with if you prefer company.
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  #27  
Old 1 Feb 2014
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Originally Posted by Jackb View Post
I'd like to post a review of the current Kudu Expeditions operation. I was on the 2013 Trans Africa (London to Cape Town, cancelled in Point Noire, Congo).
I'm not involved in anyway, I don't know any of these people or companies and am generally 'against' organised tours to places I like to travel to. I have spent a lot of time driving around Africa. My thoughts to your post are:

"Basically the trip was a race between major African cities and then trying to organise the next visa."
Yes, this is the west coast route if you only have a few months. People won't book on longer trips so tour operators have to make them shorter and shorter. It is not a tourist friendly area and a lot of time, effort, sweat, planning, pissing about and money goes into getting the next visa. Look at some of the detailed threads trying to plan it out:
http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...nfo-hows-68265

"We really did nothing touristy"
There is very little 'tourism' in West Africa or Central Africa. Were you expecting safari parks like in Kenya? AfricaDisney? It is a wonderful area to explore and enjoy just being there and seeing how things are. If you want to sit around complaining there is nothing famous to take a Facebook picture next to then you'll be happy. If you want to go and make friends with the woman selling carrots in the market and spend the morning talking to her and her customers then you'll be richer for the experience. What were your expectations of West Africa? Did you do any research of your own before you booked?

"Honestly, Africa for two and a half months and barely saw any wildlife."
Thats because you were in West & Central Africa where 99% of it has been killed already. Clearly expectations were not correct. If you had made it to Namibia, Botswana and SA then you would have had plenty of wildlife. Two and a half/four months is not much time on African time to cover that huge distance. Most independent people take 1 year down the West Coast.

"The trip was cancelled halfway through due to the incompetence of Kudu not organising visas for Angola"
Barring the likes of North Korea, Angola is probably the hardest country in the world to get any sort of visa for. Coming down the west coast this has been a serious problem for a few years. I very much doubt it was due to incompetence, most likely Angola not wanting tourists so making it virtually impossible to get a visa (my own experience *2). Read all the threads of misery in the African section, plenty of people stuck in Congo for months trying. Other overland trips were also stopped in Congo. I meet an overland driver being flown to rescue a truck stuck in Congo for quite a few months, clients had been flown to Namibia after 5 weeks of waiting.

Sometimes a tour company can't shield you from all of the realities of the trip you have paid to be sheltered from.

"The only way operators like this can be drummed out of the industry is if customers stop using them. Kudu offers dreams, takes your money, barely tries to deliver, fails to compete the trip and then lies about refunds."
I do hope so as well, but mainly because like many independent travellers in Africa I find it an unpleasant experience when a truck load of well meaning (mostly) but ignorant self important Facebook travellers turn up where I am staying and proceed to noisily take over and generally strut around like they own the place when they have no idea of the realities of where they are or how they got there or how to interact with locals and so forth...

(Thats a bit harsh, the one overland truck I meet coming down the west coast was full of nice people, many woman who didn't feel they could backpack solo etc and nice drivers etc.

But most overlanders groan when a overland truck pulls in due to the "I paid for this, I'm entitled to what my expectations are!!" attitude that fits so well with the realities of African over landing ;-)
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  #28  
Old 5 Feb 2014
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I hear where your coming from and it would be great to have to the time to organise and execute a trip privately. The fact is I purchased a product from Kudu that only vaguely met the product they advertised. The trip was cut short by Kudu and I'm out about £11k due to Kudu not honouring the refund they promised. I was sucked in by a glitzy website and feel like a fool. I'm just trying to inform others who may be looking to go the same way that this company is not professional or honourable.
P.s I'm not on Facebook. I've done plenty of solo travel but I looked at this trip and thought it'll be good for once to pay someone else to do the organising. Its certainly the last 'organised' trip I'll be on.
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  #29  
Old 5 Feb 2014
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Well as they're a UK company ??

You could simply take them to court. If a company offers something, takes your money and then doesn't deliver, then they are breaching their sale agreement.

However, I'm sure they had you sign a disclaimer in the event this happened ??


I don't think you could get anything back just because you didn't enjoy the trip, but if they promised to get you from A-B-C-D and you only to B, then that could be quite simple in the eyes of a small claims court.
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